Best lenses for the Canon EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D: Best performing zooms on a budget

By Kevin Carter - Wednesday June 04 2014

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Best performing zooms | Best wide angle zoom | Standard zoom: Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM C | Best performing telephoto zoom and super zoom models

Best wide angle zoom

Recommended ultra-wide models include the revised $655 Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX II (11-16mm f2.8) and the lower priced AT-X 12-24 AF PRO DX (12-24mm f4) at $400. If you can still find the earlier AT-X 116 PRO model it performs slightly better overall, but it has officially been replaced by the DX II.

All three models perform well, are good value and make a lot more sense than full-frame models. Wider still is the Sigma 10-20mm f3.5 EX DC HSM. This is another nicely specified lens with a sonic type AF motor and a lot special glass types, but at $659 it’s even dearer than the Tokina AT-X 116 Pro.

The two ultra-wide Tokina AT-X PRO models frequently appear in our recommendations and continue to perform well on the Canon EOS Rebel T5.

At $655 the high-speed f2.8 version is somewhat expensive given the relative affordability of the camera.

The slower f4 AT-X PRO 12-24mm is a more attractively priced option at around $400:

It has good sharpness throughout the zoom range, but it’s particularly good at the shorter focal lengths, even at full aperture. Stopped down to f5.6 sees uniformity improve especially at 24mm where the lens has very good central sharpness at f4 but only fair sharpness in the outer field.

It has heavy chromatic aberration in a ring surrounding the center throughout the zoom range, unfortunately, though it’s more noticeable at shorter focal lengths.

The AT-X 116 PRO DX II doesn’t fare well at full aperture on the Rebel so the extra cash is largely wasted. It performs similarly where the two models overlap, though the less ambitious AT-X 12-24mm often has the edge in uniformity. The Sigma is the widest and lightest of the three and it’s a good performer overall but like the AT-X 116 PRO edge sharpness is behind the more modest AT-X Pro 12-24  though it has better control of chromatic aberration.

Although performance varies through the zoom range, the Tokina AT-X 12-24mm AF PRO DX has good uniformity at the wider focal lengths.